The Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, has told All Progressives Congress (APC) supporters across the country not to entertain fears that former President Olusegun Obasanjo and other ex-military leaders may block President Muhammadu Buhari’s chance of coming back in 2019.
Shittu, who made the remark yesterday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, said since the former Nigerian leaders “are not God, there should be no apprehension’’.
Buhari had, on Monday, declared his intention to seek re-election at the closed-door meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the party in Abuja.
Buhari said he was responding to the clamour by Nigerians to re-contest in 2019, adding that he wanted to give NEC the honour of notifying them first.
However, Obasanjo and former military president, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (IBB), had differently advised the president not to run in the 2019 poll, asking Nigerians to vote him out should he decide otherwise.
Also, a former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Theophilus Danjuma recently criticised the military over killings across the country.
While reacting to Buhari’s declaration, the minister said the action was a welcome development.
“Who is OBJ? OBJ is not God, IBB is not God! Obasanjo was president here. He wanted a third term and he didn’t get it.
“What Mr. President did yesterday (Monday), we had done that much back on his behalf; that is the Mohammadu Buhari/Osinbajo Dynamic Support Group.
“So what he did yesterday was just a follow-up to what we had done about three months ago.
“And I want to assure you that by the grace of God, Mohammadu Buhari will become president the second time,” he said.
He said the president had distinguished himself as his achievement in three years had surpassed what the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) did for Nigeria in 15 years.
“For instance, in the area of job creation for youths, no government has ever, in one day, employed 200,000 graduates. It has never happened but under Buhari N-Power, it happened.
“Through this, he has provided jobs for 200,000 families spread across the length and breadth of Nigeria.
“Government is still processing the employment of 300,000 more graduates to make it 500,000. This has never happened before.
“In the areas of transport, works and housing, the last budget of the PDP government was less than N20 billion and most of these monies were stolen; diverted to private pockets.
“In 2017 alone, the Buhari government spent N255 billion on those subject matters; transport, works and housing. So how do you compare?
“Today, government is also building new roads across the states with 100 million dollars Sukuk loan; non interest loan from Islamic Development Bank.
“For the first time, government is building new railway from Lagos to Kano, from Kano to Maiduguri, from Maiduguri to Calabar and from Calabar to Lagos. So, the records are there,” he said.
Meanwhile, the United Kingdom chapter of the APC has said that it would pay for Expression of Interest and Nomination form for President Muhammadu Buhari to re-contest in 2019.
The chapter made the promise in a statement by its Spokesman, Mr. Jacob Ogunseye, yesterday in Abuja.
It said that the president’s declaration was reasonable and satisfactory, adding that his second term would make Nigeria stronger, as well as preserve the tenets of democracy in the country.
It stated that the chapter’s expectations had been met by Buhari’s declaration and assured that it would work assiduously for the electoral success of the APC at all levels.
The statement said: “President Buhari needs to consolidate on the achievements his administration has recorded in over three years, especially in economic growth, anti-graft war, security and youth development.
“He deserves a second term and we are proud that he has yielded and declared his readiness to re-contest the election as Nigeria’s President in 2019 in earnest.
“His administration’s achievements in the areas of security, economic growth, anti-corruption war and social development and other areas are visible to Nigerians,’’ the chapter said.
It added that Nigerians should consider the re-election bid as a major step to consolidate and re-invent the country into an emerging economic and democratic world power.
It called on Nigerians across the world, irrespective of religion and geographical location, to see the re-election bid of the president as a major step that would help Nigeria to stabilise.